At the moment one sperm from among thousands gets there first and scores, both the ability and need to win is ingrained in humans. I'm not speaking of winning games, or winning objects, but merely winning in its purest form; being right.
At birth the baby may struggle to be born, while the mother may struggle against if it is too early, or perhaps struggle against the pain. Conversely, the baby may seem to struggle against entering the world while the mother struggles with enduring labor. They're both right.
The war begins.
You love your child with all your heart, and she gazes at you as if you are the most important being in the world. But she won't sleep all night and you won't play games by the moonlight spilling into the room at 3 AM. She won't eat her peas and you won't allow her cookies instead. You both think you're right.
The war continues.
The parents are supposed to be the role models, firm yet flexible, full of advice but good listeners. The child is supposed to look up to the parents with those great big innocent eyes for this wisdom, and respect their decisions with that cute little quivering pouty lip. Never trust a private with a loaded weapon (child) or an officer with a map (parent).
Behold the casualties of war.
Children are sociable beings with a natural inclination to love and be loved, and an inborn desire to learn from the world around them. But no matter how loved, nurtured, and taught a child is, there will be elements of conflict between a parent and a child. This relationship is no different in its basic form than the relationships we forge in life, those of friendships, marriages, workgroups, etcetera. Theoretically one might assume that perhaps a parent/child relationship is less nurtured because, despite the value or ensuing problems, the bond will always exist. We may tend to treat it more casually, be less inclined to protect it, relying instead on the adage, "You're my child/parent, I'll always love you no matter what". Where the problem lies, where the strategy of this strange war begins to unravel is when one or the other crosses the enemy lines. And we shall in our quest to determine exactly the bounds of 'no matter what'.
It's simple. Parents are going to piss their kids off and kids are going to stretch that limit of love just as far as it will go. It's going to happen. Even in the strongest of family relationships, people are not going to see eye to eye on a daily basis.
The problems may be minor, but even minor difficulties left unchecked can fester and grow from buckshot to hand grenades. The problems may be large and not easily resolved by any number of summit meetings The important question is whether it's an annoying skirmish or requires a call to arms.
It's going to happen.
It's how you handle the battle that matters. It's how you deal with the issue that sets a precedent for the tactics of parental/child war. It's first realizing that it will happen. It's not believing that you will be different, that you will be the perfect parent of a perfect child. Your beauty queen/honor student/pure as snow virginal/voted best of everything/prom queen/valedictorian/daughter will someday cause you to mutter under your breath if it's too late to change your mind about being a mommy.
It will happen.
It's figuring out what's worth the battle and what's not, when to say no and when to allow them to know they should have said no. The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war. Learn the difference. It's understanding that it's only a battle if you allow it to be. It's having the maturity to take a bullet, be wounded, and realize it will heal. It's recognizing the need for peace treaties, for confirmation of the validity of each side's cause, for learning to compromise without being compromised.
It needs to happen.
They're not really out to get you. A childhood tantrum of "I hate you" is not really personal, at that moment they hate the world. It only serves to prove that kids need love the most when they're acting most unlovable. And you wouldn't really leave them in the store if they don't come 'right this very minute'. But you want to at that very minute, don't you? Parents of teens do understand why animals eat their young. You spend the first 2 years of their life teaching them to walk and talk. Then you spend the next 16 telling them to sit down and shut-up.
Forget the peas, take a FlintstonesŪ vitamin, it can get UNpierced, he'll bring the C up next marking period, it was an accident...she'll never do it again. People do make well meaning mistakes and confused assumptions. Harsh words can be forgotten. Apologies exist. Communication can work.
You have to let it happen.
That's the trouble with war, no one is always right, but after the smoke clears, only one is always left.
Besides you have to be nice to your kids...they'll choose your nursing home someday.